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Local Forward Sees Hopes Dashed in Davidson Defeat

March 22, 2013 By:
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Jake Cohen, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, will play basketball for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Photo courtesy of Davidson College, where Cohen attended school.

Everybody expected Jake Cohen and Davidson College to make it at least to the third round at the 2013 NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship.

Cohen, a forward from Berwyn who played JCC Maccabi basketball and is now considering professional options, was Davidson's top scorer and two-time Southern Conference player of the year. At the start of the tournament, Davidson held the nation’s longest current winning streak of 17 games. Basketball analyst Dick Vitale called them the hottest team in America and said they were a sleeper pick that could upset No. 3 Marquette in their second-round game on Thursday.

But it was not to be. Marquette trailed by 7 before a junior guard named Vander Blue rescued the team that hails from Wisconsin. He proved himself by making a clutch three and a last-second layup to win 59-58 and send Davidson home to North Carolina.

The defeat was Cohen’s final game in college basketball. 

Cohen, who could not be reached for comment, played on the gold medal-winning Philadelphia team at the 2007 JCC Maccabi Games in Orange County, Calif. The 6-foot, 10-inch forward scored 33 points in the finals to defeat the team from the Sid Jacobson JCC on Long Island.

Brian Schiff, who coached the Maccabi team, said Cohen’s athleticism and shooting ability isn’t usually found in someone his size.

“He loved being a part of our Philly team,” Schiff said. "He came to every practice and worked his butt off.”

Cohen was selected to represent the United States in the open division in the Maccabiah Games this summer in Israel. But Schiff said Cohen has not yet committed to playing in the games as he considers his options for playing professionally.

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